Does Amazon Sell Fakes?

Does Amazon sell fakes? You bet they do. Amazon allows the sale of counterfeit goods via their “third party sellers” and now the company itself prints, sells and ships counterfeit tee shirts via their Merch By Amazon program. I know this because Amazon.com, Inc. is currently selling my original design on two shirts and they refuse to remove them.     Part One – Deplorable Amazon Counterfeits 09-23-16

Original Deplorable Voter God Bless America ShirtAmazon.com refuses, IN WRITING, to remove these shirts and will continue to use my designs without authorization or a licensing agreement. The last email I received from the Amazon copyright office regarding my “Deplorable Voter God Bless America” design was dated Mon, Nov 14, 2016 3:14 pm and read as follows:

Thank you for your message. As previously stated, these items will not be removed from the catalog based on the information you provided. Unless you have other, different grounds for requesting their removal, we would ask that you no longer submit notices for these items.
Best Regards,
A– T–
Copyright/Trademark Agent

That’s right, the huge mega company Amazon just told the small business owner and independent artist to stop bothering them!

From September 17th when I sent the first DMCA take down notice until November 14th, I received several different and conflicting emails on the two shirts that are still up on Amazon. Two on 9/21 and 9/23 both read “Thank you for your message. The items you identified below share a simple phrase with the items you list. Short phrases are not covered by copyright, nor are ideas. As these items do not share artwork we do not believe there is a copyright claim here.” Well, that is correct, short phrases are not covered by copyright, that would be a TRADEMARK and I didn’t claim a trademark infringement. Duh. As to the lack of “artwork” I responded with a rather lengthy email 9/25, part of which read:

Since Amazon does receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity, i.e. the shirt design reported is actually sold by Amazon.com via the Merch By Amazon program and Amazon is not simply a “service provider” in this instance, that is an additional factor in the loss of “Safe Harbor”.

In addition, the DMCA law does not allow for a service provider to act as an interpreter of copyright law or argue against a DMCA takedown notice. Nor does the law require the copyright holder to defend their copyright claim to the service provider with any additional information or the explanation of copyright laws. The copyright holder is required to file a written communication and notification of claimed infringement as outlined in § 512. Limitations on liability relating to material online, section (3) Elements of notification, and the service provider is to remove said infringement once notification is received.
However, on September 21st I received the one and only reply to all sixteen of my infringement notices from G– S— Copyright/Trademark Agent in which Mr. S— advised that “Short phrases are not covered by copyright, nor are ideas. As these items do not share artwork we do not believe there is a copyright claim here.” Mr. S— then directed me to copyright.gov’s circular 34 “Copyright Protection Not Available for Names, Titles, or Short Phrases” for additional information.
The copyright protections being claimed and the resulting infringements on Amazon.com have nothing to do with “short phrases or ideas” and while Mr. S— may not consider graphic design to be “artwork” and believes that only his definition of “artwork” receives protection under Title 17 Copyright Law, with all due respect, Mr. S— doesn’t work for the U.S. Copyright Office.
While the DMCA law does not require me to defend nor explain my claim of copyright infringement as initially communicated, I am happy to provide Amazon.com with the link to “Title 17 Copyright Law” http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html and will include the pertinent information directly in this email:
§ 101 . Definitions
Except as otherwise provided in this title, as used in this title, the following terms and their variant forms mean the following:
A “compilation” is a work formed by the collection and assembling of preexisting materials or of data that are selected, coordinated, or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship. The term “compilation” includes collective works.

§ 102 . Subject matter of copyright: In general
(a) Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories:

(5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;

§ 103 . Subject matter of copyright: Compilations and derivative works
(a) The subject matter of copyright as specified by section 102 includes compilations and derivative works, but protection for a work employing preexisting material in which copyright subsists does not extend to any part of the work in which such material has been used unlawfully.
(b) The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting material.

In the language of copyright law, graphic design is properly described as a “compilation work” Section 101 Definitions. My graphic design was formed by the collection and assembly of certain letters from particular and differing fonts [preexisting materials] that I selected, coordinated and arranged, including the particular size and exact spacing of said letters and fonts, into an original work of authorship. This original work of authorship receives copyright protection under Section 102 Subject matter of copyright: In general [Subsection (5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;] and Section 103 Subject matter of copyright: Compilations and derivative works “The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work”. My original and unique selection, coordination and arrangement of the preexisting material including the specific size, spacing and layout of said preexisting materials is the material contributed by the author, myself, that created what becomes the original work.

The email I received in reply could make a person laugh and cry – Sun, Sep 25, 2016 4:41 pm “We respect the intellectual property rights of others. We require that sellers on our site do the same. If you think that an item on our site infringes your intellectual property rights, please submit a complaint using our online form.” So on the 27th of September I replied:

The law requires that I provide written communication of the copyright infringement, which I did via email on September 17, 2016, and is located at the bottom of this message. The law does not require that I use Amazon’s online complaint form.

Now, every time I sent a failure to comply notice on these shirts, I included a CC: to Jeff Bezos, the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, the FBI Intellectual Property Theft email, and the contact for the Merch By Amazon sellers program. This time, while the copyright office of Amazon ignored me, the Merch By Amazon office sent a reply: Tue, Sep 27, 2016 8:55 am “We have noticed you contacted us several times regarding to infringement reports. Protecting intellectual property rights is important to us and we are here to assist you prior to your inquires. In order to continue process and forward your report promptly, please kindly send us emails with text only. It seems your request contains HTLM and it sometimes slows down our process. We appreciate your corporations and understanding in this matter. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us! Best regards, K— Merch by Amazon Support”

My email contains HTML? It’s slowing down the process? You’re kidding me. Are you noticing the pattern? Deny, ignore, deflect, obstruct and obfuscate. That is Amazon.com, Inc.’s pattern for dealing with intellectual property theft BY THEIR OWN COMPANY. I sent several more emails before the November 14th response that basically told me to shut up. I never did respond again. I cannot take the chance that Amazon would block my email or something as I need to be able to report future thefts of my artwork and designs that continue to populate their site both by third party sellers and by the Merch By Amazon program. In their subtle way, Amazon.com has bullied me into halting further action regarding the two shirts still being sold on the Amazon site.

The good news is that out of the sixteen shirts I originally reported on September 17, 2016, two were removed in mid-September and the remaining twelve were confirmed as gone from the site as of November 14th. Having said that, the Amazon Merchandise program recently implemented a new standard whereby if a shirt design uploaded by a MBA seller does not sell within 60 days, it is removed from the site. So the twelve that were confirmed as no longer live on Amazon 11/14/16 most probably were dropped due to no sales. That means the two that remain HAVE sold, so there is the proof that the Merch By Amazon seller who stole my design and Amazon.com, who is physically manufacturing i.e. printing the shirts, are directly profiting from the use of my graphic design WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. I have the evidence, the screen shots and all the emails.

One day Amazon will rue the day they decided to be judge, jury and executioner when it comes to the illegal use of the copyrights of others; they will RUE the day!

One Week Later

It has been one week since Glenn and Abraham made the ultimate sacrifice for the group. It was one of the most haunting episodes and I will never be able to unsee it.

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The Season 7 opener for The Walking Dead started with a sense of dread that had followed me all day. I was snuggled on the couch as 9 pm approached but as the parental warning flashed on the screen I sat up and moved to the end of the sofa and as the episode began I got up and crept up to the television set and sat a foot away from the screen like I was five years old again, watching Saturday morning cartoons.

It was awful. No way did I expect Negan to kill two of Rick’s group. Abraham made total sense in the way Season 6 ended “Oh! Taking it like a champ!” but I wasn’t ready for it. No one could be ready for any of it. But when Darryl jumped up, and then Negan turned and whacked Glenn instead… see, I knew in my heart that it would be Glenn so it was almost a relief when it happened. A horrible, painful and terrifying release of tension that was with me, and most TWD fans I would expect, all summer.

God bless Maggie. When she said the group had to get back to Alexandria to get ready to fight I was all “You go girl!” and then I was all “Girl, sit down and get on your knees because there is no fighting this one.” It’s awful to see Rick so beaten down and broken, but thank God Negan stopped short of taking Carl’s arm.

You may have noticed by now that I haven’t really gotten into the details of how Glenn and Abraham died. I’m still not ready. I don’t think I can ever be ready to discuss it in too much detail. I have heard that social media was all a buzz about how The Walking Dead crossed some line in this past week’s episode and it was “unacceptable”. Well of course it was unacceptable! That’s the whole point of what we watched happen when Rick Grimes and his group crossed Negan. There are some very bad people in The Walking Dead universe and survival of the fittest will be the law of the land, which leads to some very unacceptable moments. Don’t turn away and be all indignant – watch it and learn.

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Thankfully this past week has been full of the twists and turns of a totally different universe known as the Presidential Election 2016. So I’ve been paying attention to that in the same way Carol suggested and planned the thank you dinner for Hershel and his family to keep her mind off of Sophia lost in the woods. Between emails and servers, the FBI and Wikileaks, I can keep my mind off of the horrifying deaths of two of the coolest guys on The Walking Dead. Rest In Peace Glenn and Abraham.

Deplorable Amazon Counterfeits

On the night of September 12th, while my dinner was in the oven, I created two original designs for tee shirts that were inspired by Hillary Clinton’s “Basket Of Deplorables” remarks. Counterfeiters quickly stole them and began selling them via the Merch By Amazon program, where t-shirts are printed by and sold by Amazon.com. Amazon refuses to comply with my repeated DMCA notices; they must be making a fortune off of my designs and want the cash to continue to flow.

Hillary made her comment on Friday, I did a text only design on Saturday to sell in my Zazzle shop in blue font PROUD DEPLORABLE TRUMP SUPPORTER HAND ME MY BASKET and then Sunday was the 15th anniversary of 9/11. I typically spend that day watching the History Channel and remembering. Now it was Monday evening and I had forgotten to do something for my Redbubble store. With my hamburger drying out in the oven, I created two graphic designs using text only, which is rare for me. The first was DEPLORABLE AMERICAN and the second was DEPLORABLE VOTER GOD BLESS AMERICA, both in plain white for dark tees. At this point I had turned off the oven and my dinner was not only well done but also growing cold as I carefully tried out different fonts, spacing and layout to turn plain words into visually interesting designs. I cleaned up the edges of each letter, set the background to transparent and got them uploaded to Redbubble on shirts only. I was hungry so I slathered the cold, dry burger with extra ketchup and vowed to do the sticker and mug variations in the morning.


Bright and early on Tuesday, September 13th, I checked my Redubble account and had already sold one of each shirt! That was good news. I finished the work on the stickers and mugs, got the designs set on additional products and then did the red, white and blue versions of both DEPLORABLE AMERICAN and DEPLORABLE VOTER GOD BLESS AMERICA. I had originally planned on just changing them to full black for light backgrounds but I was feeling inspired. Perhaps I should have gone with the first idea since I have not sold either of the red, white and blue versions. Then I created the STRONGER TOGETHER parody design which lists all the excluded groups. It was a little boxy but I had to move on to the idea that had popped into my head around noon: TRUMP AND THE DEPLORABLES THE IRREDEEMABLE WORLD TOUR 2016. The whole thing was perfect for a fake band and tour and I was tickled with it. In my head I kept thanking Hillary for #basketofdeplorables because I was having too much fun.

The two original shirts were picking up sales all day and I was very pleased. I got the new designs up in my Redbubble shop and called it a night. Wednesday morning showed me a massive amount of sales for the original shirts were rolling in. I spent the day creating new versions for my Zazzle store. I like to keep my designs exclusive to just one site so if I want to sell it in another shop I will change it up some. I used a faux gold background and masking techniques to create a faux metallic DEPLORABLE AMERICAN design for Zazzle. Since Zazzle’s platform allows for customer personalization, I added text to the men’s version so it read DEPLORABLE AMERICAN PATRIOT and on the ladies shirt, DEPLORABLE AMERICAN MOM. Then I used the same masking over faux silver for a fresh take on DEPLORABLE VOTER GOD BLESS AMERICA only this time I only used DEPLORABLE VOTER with God Bless America added as a text template so customers can change it if they wish. Finally I did a faux gold and silver version of TRUMP AND THE DEPLORABLES THE IRREDEEMABLE WORLD TOUR 2016 exclusively for my Zazzle store.



On Thursday I got back to working on some Christmas designs until yet another Deplorable idea popped into my head which resulted in yet another text only graphic design DOES THIS VOTE MAKE ME LOOK DEPLORABLE?. Sales of the original two shirts were still selling well on Redbubble and I was feeling great.

Friday, September 16th the shirt sales had slowed down a bit. I checked the Redbubble marketplace to see where I was ranking and was horrified to find three separate rip-offs of my DEPLORABLE VOTER GOD BLESS AMERICA design posted by other Bubblers. It was blatant copyright theft of my design image with identical fonts, spacing and layout. I filed DMCA notices for all three shirts with Redbubble’s copyright office and the shirts were immediately removed from the site. It was my first time dealing with the copyright folks at Redbubble and I cannot sing their praises enough. Since then I have found and reported eight infringements in the Redbubble marketplace and the RB team has promptly taken care of the matter.

But the shirt sales were still slowing. Now it could have been that the Basket of Deplorables frenzy was over in less than a week or perhaps it was simply market saturation. The second would make sense since when I first posted my designs on Monday the 12th there were only 20 or 40 designs coming up when I searched RB for “deplorable” and by Saturday morning it was 400 or 500 results. Then a horrifying thought came to me… AMAZON! If you are a regular visitor to my blog and website you know I have been fighting fake products and design theft on Amazon.com for the past year. It’s a struggle. But surely the Chinese counterfeiters hadn’t had the chance to scrape the web for Deplorable designs yet, had they?

So there I was on Saturday afternoon, with a pit in my stomach, searching Amazon.com for DEPLORABLE and scrolling through page after page of tee shirts. There were 131 pages and I got through 81 before stopping for dinner. I found five separate listings with my original DEPLORABLE AMERICAN design and eleven for the original DEPLORABLE VOTER GOD BLESS AMERICA design. My shirts list for $25.84 on Redbubble while some of the fakes on Amazon.com were listed at $11.99! No wonder my sales trickled to a halt if folks can get a counterfeit version on Amazon for 46% less. I took screen shots, copied ASIN numbers and page links and filed sixteen individual DMCA take down requests via email to Amazon’s copyright office and shut down the computer for the night.

Sunday morning my inbox showed two, just two, automated “we received your email we will be in touch” replies from Amazon. I was pretty angry about the multiple thefts of my designs but it was the weekend so I figured I would give them until Monday. So I checked the final pages 82 through now 136 then started work on the last of my Deplorable designs, this time in the form of a “family crest” because when ideas come into my head, the best thing to do is just let them run free.

A side note: It was around Sunday that I ventured over to the Merch By Amazon forum to read and get a feel for the atmosphere. A fellow designer has been very happy with his success since receiving an invitation to Merch By Amazon. When he again gleefully shared the number of shirts he sells daily at MBA while I was quietly lamenting the sudden slowdown of my successful Deplorable designs and how much money I was losing, I began to ponder submitting my information to Amazon to request an invitation to sell there. I know! But a girl’s gotta eat and you know what they say about keep your friends close but your enemies closer. Having an account at Merch By Amazon would be pretty close! No, I don’t really consider Amazon to be my enemy – I still shop there sometimes – but they sure are a tough opponent when it comes to copyright infringements on their site. Okay, why did I just tell you about this Merch pondering? Because one can learn a lot by reading and the information I picked up from Sunday onward about MBA proved extremely helpful regarding the sixteen infringements I reported.

Now it’s Monday morning September 19th, exactly one week since the original DEPLORABLE AMERICAN and DEPLORABLE VOTER GOD BLESS AMERICA designs were available on Redbubble. The shirt sales of both have slowed to barely a crawl. Amazon still hasn’t replied to the sixteen infringement reports but I’m fair, even when angry, so I give them the first day back in the office to sort things out. I worked on other things and read a little more over at the Merch By Amazon forum. I’m drinking it all in, weighing my options.

Tuesday morning arrives bright and early yet still nothing from Amazon’s copyright office. Like I said, they are a tough adversary but rarely do they full out ignore my notices like this. I send a Failure To Comply notice for each infringement, adding some rather strong CC’s. My anger made me add a little extra note in each email: “Exactly what do you do with the listing fees and percentage of sales fees you collect from third party sellers prior to items being removed for copyright infringement?” See, at this point I’m still working on the believe that these shirts are being sold by third party sellers, although the seller/brand names were particularly kooky and I’ve seen some off the wall Amazon seller names.

Wednesday morning – two auto-reply “thanks for emailing us” replies from Amazon, nothing else. What the heck? Why would they be ignoring me like this? It’s certainly not good for them. Complying with a DMCA notice is not a suggestion, it’s the law. Unless… Oh. My. God. I start Googling furiously.


I found this gentleman’s blog milliondollarbiz.com which gave me three things to look for to identify an item on Amazon.com as being Merch By Amazon. I found another site that explained how a MBA account holder can put anything they want in the “brand name” space and it’s suggested to use key words and such for the design instead. That explains how all the “deplorable voter #basketofdeplorables” etc. stores suddenly sprang up so fast; they are actually key words being used by Merch By Amazon accounts. There was one more blog that pointed out how it’s impossible to identify a particular MBA account holder “because all items show as ships from and sold by Amazon.com instead of a store or brand.” Continue reading

Tribal Cat Tribal Horse With Ubuntu Made From Kenya

This is the story of a unique collaboration between Zazzle Inc., Ubuntu Made and artists around the world.

Ubuntu Made is part of the non-profit Ubuntu Life which began as a friendship between Zane Wilemon and Jeremiah Kuria, a Kenyan minister in a small town on the outskirts of Nairobi by the name of Maai Mahiu. That friendship blossomed into a venture that included a cafe, a farm with organic produce, clinics, a special needs school and a sustainable accessories line. The accessories line, hand crafted by members of the Maasai tribe, resulted in collaborations with brands such as Whole Foods, American Eagle and now Zazzle, and is now on track to turn Ubuntu into a full-fledged lifestyle brand. With the Zazzle partnership, the Maasai are creating items that will be turned into high end personalized gifts and keepsakes.

This summer, they’re re-launching themselves in a new light. Undergoing a rebranding process: the non-profit which was once called CTC International is now Ubuntu Life, and the accessories line, Ubuntu Made. Their wares includes bags, clutches, iPhone covers, bandanas, bangles, and keychains. Plus, wine bottle carriers (which cheekily read, “Save the Wino”) and mug holders are sold at 450 Whole Foods stores in the country. Silicon Valley-based Zazzle, a marketplace for handmade items, partnered with the African non-profit to introduce their new line of iPhone covers, bags, and keychains. Ubuntu provides the locally-sourced leather; Zazzle can customize it with images and text, etched directly onto the leather. – Forbes.com article

When Zazzle first announced it’s new Zazzle Heart 2.0 “The Adventure Collection” I was immediately inspired by the story behind the new products and wanted to make something special for this unique line. I thought of “Cat Jobs” which was my postcard donation to the Twitter Art Exhibit in February. That postcard art sent to New York City was my first tribal style cat and I had always planned on someday creating more tribal style animals because the #twitterartexhibit donation had turned out so well. I had the feeling that the laser-etching process being used in The Adventure Collection would work beautifully with the tattoo art style, so I eventually sat down and did another sleeping cat. I was right. The brand new version of my tribal cat drawing looks so cool on the Ubuntu Made products!


collection of sleeping tribal cat drawing on ubuntu made products
The Adventure Collection currently consists of seven exclusive products: a leather key fob, leather iPhone 6 pouch, leather travel bag or clutch purse, a leather journal, a classic leather tote bag and two waxed canvas items, a travel journal and a carry-all tote bag. I have designed all seven Ubuntu Made products with my sleeping tribal cat artwork and included a text template on each one, making it easy for customers to add a name and create a unique personalized gift for him, although the Name Here option can also be removed from the items if one prefers a design only product. These leather and canvas goods make fun and thoughtful personalized gifts for cat lovers of all ages. Continue reading

The Curious Case Of Amazon Counterfeiters

As Amazon ramps up for its second annual Prime Day sale on Tuesday, July 12th, I feel the need to express my feelings about this company that is turning huge profits and stands to rake in even more money built around the highly anticipated Amazon Prime Day 2016 event.

I’m angry.

Before I go further, let me tell you that I used to love Amazon. I still have the index card where I jotted down my login information when I first became a member at Amazon.com and my join date is November 28, 1999. Yes, I was shopping on Amazon when all they sold was books and Y2K had not happened yet. Or not NOT happened yet, as it turned out. My point being that I have been a loyal customer of Amazon’s for 17 years, but right now the relationship feels like a best friend who has betrayed me. It feels like the company has set aside it’s morals and ethics in favor of skirting the legal line in order to advance profits.

I’m so distraught that I suggest you read this article about artists and our stolen work on Amazon from May of this year. It will make more sense than I can in my current state.

Designers of custom T-shirts, iPhone cases and pillow covers who sell their work through websites like Zazzle and Society6 are seeing copies of their products pop up at an alarming rate on Amazon.

The sellers, often hawking the items for a fraction of the price of the originals, range from fraudsters trying to make a quick buck to apparent bots scraping listings from other commerce sites.

In going through the formal take-down request process that Amazon requires, online merchants are not only wasting precious hours, but they’re seeing the number of fakes multiply.        |

And Amazon doesn’t make reporting and removing the infringements easy for artists. Even when Zazzle.com worked with Amazon to provide a specialized version of the standard DMCA take down notice for Zazzle designers sent to a special email address, Amazon often replied with obfuscations and delaying tactics. “Use our online form” or “you need to provide better links” and “we apologize but you need to log into your seller account first.”

Continue reading

Shark Week 2016 vs. TWD Dead White And Blue Marathon

Happy Shark Week!

Shark Stuff in my Zazzle store
Now you know me, I’m such a geek, and every year I live for Shark Week. Well, not literally but you know what I mean. So as soon as I saw the first commercial announcing that Discovery Channel’s Shark Week 2016 was starting Sunday night June 26th at 8 pm I was understandably excited. My first thought was boy, is it my imagination or does this festival of shark geekiness start earlier and earlier every year? Then a second and more serious revelation entered my shark fevered brain… This is awfully close to 4th Of July and we all know what THAT means:

AMC’s annual Dead, White and Blue marathon! Days upon days of back to back episodes of The Walking Dead from season one straight on up to the last episode of the last season. Well, since we are about to start season seven of TWD, that’s a whole lot of episodes and OH MY GOSH NO! IS THIS GOING TO CONFLICT WITH SHARK WEEK!?!

So I did what any self respecting nerd would do, I immediately googled the air dates for the Dead, White and Blue marathon 2016 while holding my breath just a little. The page was still refreshing and already I was feeling the inner turmoil of having to choose between two utterly fantastic television experiences that highlight my summer each year. I mean, it was bad enough back when I first had to decide between The Twilight Zone July 4th marathon on the SyFy channel and The Walking Dead zombiefest. In the earlier years I was still able to catch most of the Twilight Zone episodes because there were not that many TWD seasons. But lately The Twilight Zone always loses out except for sneak peaks during commercials.

I know, I know, I could just purchase or record all of TWD seasons and watch them whenever I want, but it’s not the same thing. I like the geeky experience of tuning in live, as it happens.
Funny Zombie stuff in my Redbubble shop
Continue reading

Fear The Walking Dead Season 2 Mid-Season Finale

So the mid-season finale of Fear The Walking Dead Season Two was last night.

And I don’t care.

I mean, I watched it. There wasn’t much anticipation on my part, I totally admit. I completely forgot that it was mid-season finale night until about 7:45 so I missed any FTWD  marathon fun that AMC may have run yesterday. Again, I didn’t much care.

But why not? Well, maybe it’s because the Spanish language dialog has continued to increase over the episodes, resulting in more caption text on the television screen for the English speaking crowd. Now, on Sunday nights I get all comfy on the couch, cuddled up with blankies and the cat sometimes, and see, the TV is way over there against the far wall. Normaly I can see everything just fine, but those itsy bitsy teeny weeny captions on the screen are beyond the power of my glasses. If I sit up and shift over to the right side of the couch, I can read them. Laying down in my happy zombie night position, I cannot. And honestly, I have not cared enough to shift my viewing position in order to read the Spanish dialog translated to English in minuscule lettering on my television screen.

I get it. Daniel is from South America, they are now in Mexico, there is a major Latin influence going on in the story arch. But there is atmosphere to flavor a story and then there is overkill. Fear The Walking Dead isn’t a telenovela so in my opinion all this Spanish/English subtitles stuff is overkill. Yes, I knew what a telenovela was ages ago thanks to Jeff Lewis’s housekeeper aka second mom Zoila on Bravo’s Flipping Out. Even Zoila spoke mostly English so I never had to shift my position on the couch to understand the gist of the story. With Fear The Walking Dead, lately I have taken to just laying there, not understanding what the characters are saying for huge chunks of an episode, not really giving a damn.

But I think the real reason why I didn’t care that much about FTWD’s mid-season finale last night is why I haven’t had much enthusiasm for season two as a whole – and I shared this with a friend the other day – I am still just plum pissed off about the Season Six Finale of The Walking Dead. Still haven’t got over the “who did Negan kill” pushing me off the cliff and having to hang there suspended for six months thing. Every Sunday night since then I have cuddled up with the cat to watch Fear The Walking Dead but I have felt cold and dead inside, seething a little in a it’s just a tv show but I’m still angry sort of way.

So between subtitles and lingering TWD fan anger, FTWD has not been enjoyable this time around. And that sucks. Cause normally I love, I treasure, my Sunday night zombies.

 

Who Did Negan Kill? TWD Season 6 Finale

I had a strong reaction to the season six finale of The Walking Dead. I felt the terror, the uncertainty of what was going to happen, then the absolute certainty that someone was going to die. I felt it all day, watching the Walking Dead marathon. Someone was going to die and for the first time since AMC originally aired this zombie apocalypse series in 2010, I felt dread instead of excitement as the hours counted down to the final episode of season 6. Of course people die but this time, I knew it was coming and it was going to be really, really bad. I kinda didn’t want to see it happen. But of course I watched. Duh.

And as I watched Negan smash someone’s brains out, fading into black with only faint, gruesome sounds in the background and then the credits rolled, I shook a little then both middle fingers flew up at the tv screen and I yelled “F you F you F you F you! EFFF YOU. F you F you… oh F you!” until The Talking Dead come on.

There was no one watching with me except the cat so it wasn’t for any audience of my own. It was a gut reaction, raw emotion bubbling up from my core. F YOU. F you for leaving me like that, still not knowing. F you.

I get that the writers and producers of the show wanted to leave us not knowing who Negan beat to a bloody pulp so we would have the same horror in our heads as the characters who had to shut up and watch it. The audience is supposed to be feeling the same terrible emotion knowing that everything we knew just changed. I get it. But I don’t like it one bit. Not one tiny bit.

I woke up Monday morning, kissed the cat and then said out loud “F you” a couple of times then made coffee. I thought back to the previous five seasons and the final scene. Sometimes we’ve had cliff hangers, pretty big ones, but nothing so awful as knowing someone just died a horrific death but nobody knows who it was.

Continue reading

Twitter Art Exhibit 2016 New York City

My postcard art on the way to the 2016 Twitter Art Exhibit in New York City.

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Go Mister Mailman Go!

#twitterartexhibit

 

 

The X-Files 2016 Episode 1 Review

Thank you on demand cable – today I caught up on the two part premiere of the brand new X-Files Season 10. And may I say I was pleasantly surprised that The X-Files reboot delivered everything I wanted.

Let me backtrack a bit. Back when the X-Files premiered in 1993, it quickly became my favorite TV show ever. I have always been a sci-fi paranormal weird stuff geek. My mom took me to see Chariots Of The Gods when it was first released in theaters, although I was so very young at the time that I do not recall if I asked to see it or if she just took me cause SHE wanted to watch it. I know I had a copy of the book purchased at a rummage sale at school that I treasured. Later, In Search Of with Leonard Nimoy was my favorite thing on television. Yep, I was I was a nerd.

Thanks to a million channels on cable these days, I have my fill of geektacular shows like Ancient Aliens, Hanger One brought to you by MUFON, Finding Bigfoot, Monster Quest, UFO Files and various other programs featuring cryptic creatures, little green men and enough paranormal fodder to please and delight my inner child several times a week. But I digress.

Back to the original X-Files. Every episode was an event, every new season a celebration. When it aired on Friday nights, my geek friends and I planned our nights around Mulder and Scully; watch the new episode then out to the club to drink, dance and discuss in great detail just how awesome tonight’s episode was. The monsters and freaks are as fresh in my mind as if it was yesterday… Fluke Boy, Dark Matter, Eve 6, that old man with the dog, the circus episode… and The Lone Gunmen! Gawd, they were the best geek trio in all history of history. We had no on demand or dvr back then. We taped the shows on VCRs so we could watch the latest ep again and hit the rewind button. And we liked it.

But then, in the last couple of seasons, the shippers won. Fox and Dana, kissing and being all romantic; the mythology part of the series weaved it’s way into romance and for me, the X-Files lost it’s luster. It was quite distressing, feeling that distance growing between my favorite show and me. I felt an actual loss when I decided to stop watching. No more VCR, no more discussions with my friends. I was genuinely sad.

But wait. Fast forward that old VCR to today. As Season Ten Episode One began, Chris Carter made a brilliant decision… the music was the same, and the opening credits were identical, right down to the fonts on the screen. A part of me was transported back to the 1990’s and I smiled. It’s true, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully have aged a bit – haven’t we all – but they looked good. As the episode progressed, I felt like I was catching up with old friends, the kind of friends that you drifted apart from not because of anything bad but just because your interests changed. But it didn’t matter anymore, you were hanging out again and it was just fun.

The references to Mulder and Scully’s romantic past and child together were a bit of a broken eye roll for me, being that the Shipper stuff is why I drifted away back then. Oh well, whatever. It was fun seeing Walter Skinner (who hasn’t aged a bit) and The Smoking Man, and I enjoyed the up to the minute social references like Mulder showing up in an Uber car and that You-tube guy and his conspiracy theories about the government. When they touched on how different today’s world was now because of 9/11 I got a bit of a lump in my throat. That day affected me deeply. I threw away all of my VCR tapes, including the X-File copies, long ago, but somewhere upstairs I still have a tape of the short lived spin off Lone Gunmen show episode in March 2001 where they thwart a plot to fly a plane into the World Trade Center. Six months later 9/11 happened and I used that Lone Gunmen tape to record some of that day. I don’t even have a VCR anymore but still I keep that tape, with that episode and what happened after.

Anyway, so far I find The X-Files 2016 to be a refreshing and successful reunion with a television show that brought me such pleasure back in the day. I’m hoping the numbers are good enough that we might get more than just the initial six episodes. While clicking around to get to it today, the on demand channel was broadcasting sneak peeks of the upcoming season and for people like me, apparently there will be stand alone episodes with “monsters” and a funny episode, sprinkled in with the mythology. I’m good with that. No, The X-Files Season 10 is not a shiny new toy like Season 1 was. This is a comfortable old sweater, a favorite book you’ve read a million times, that familiar meal you order in the restaurant. Not everything needs to be shiny and new all the time, and if handled well, that old sweater can be just as nice as a new version. This new X-Files feels like coming home.